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How I got Self-Care All Wrong

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13 Fatal Self-Care Mistakes a Bubble Bath Won’t Fix

A few months ago I wrote this article on Medium:

50 Small Acts of Self Care with a Big Impact
The Everyday Toolkit
medium.com

Like the title reveals it contains an extremely long list of random self-care ideas — including the life-changing magic of a bubble bath, the relaxing effects of having an orgasm and the beauty of drinking your morning coffee all by yourself.

These are all great ideas because most of us struggle to take some time for ourselves to simply take care of our body, mind & soul. And for a long time, I thought this is the core problem of self-care: we don’t take time for ourselves.

So I made it a point to take 1 hour every day for myself. Basically, every day I picked something from the list.

And it made me feel better — more relaxed.

But somehow I still felt something was missing.

I still felt I didn’t treat myself like a woman who loved herself.

That’s when I realized: True self-care is about how we treat ourselves every minute of every day, not just during our 20 min bubble bath.

So I went on a quest to evaluate and change my everyday behavior in a way that reflected true self-care.

This is the 13 fatal self-care mistakes I identified along the way and the promises I made to myself for a future of real self-care:

1. Comparing myself to others

  • The lie I was telling myself: I am less special than others (because of my body) or more special than others (because of my work).
  • What I will do instead in the future: Feeling good about myself without judging others as better or worse. Accepting everyone including myself as an imperfect human being worthy of love and compassion.

2. Not saying NO

  • The lie I was telling myself: I will miss out if I don’t join for this.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Listening deep inside myself before saying YES to something. Asking myself if it is really what I WANT and NEED right now. Letting go of any sort of FOMO and setting healthy boundaries.

3. Caring too much what other people think

  • The lie I was telling myself: My self-worth is based on how great other people think I am.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Stop basing my self-worth on external factors like appearance, performance and other people. Unconditionally respect, accept and love myself — just as I am.

4. Surrounding myself with toxic people

  • The lie I was telling myself: I will be alone and have no friends if I stop hanging out with this person.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Having a small circle of people that are good for me and lift me higher and not being afraid to cut ties with toxic people.

5. Beating myself up for mistakes at work

  • The lie I was telling myself: Mistakes should not happen. If I mess up, I am not worthy of being treated with kindness and compassion.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Being kind to myself when I make mistakes and see it as an opportunity for growth.

6. Defining myself through my work and salary

  • The lie I was telling myself: My self-worth is based on the goals I achieve at work, the position I hold and the salary I get.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Distancing myself from my success at work, knowing that I am inherently worthy and being intrinsically motivated to learn, grow and master my skills.

7. Not sleeping enough

  • The lie I was telling myself: I only need 6 hours of sleep. I can sleep when I am dead.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Prioritizing my sleep as a core pillar of my well-being as it has a tremendous impact on my mood and performance.

8. Treating myself with ice cream even though I am lactose intolerant

  • The lie I was telling myself: You are watching what you eat all the time anyway, you can treat yourself for once!
  • What I will do instead in the future: Finally understanding that eating ice cream when I am lactose intolerant is the exact opposite of treating myself and finding other ways to treat myself.

9. Over-scheduling my day

  • The lie I was telling myself: Skipping sleep to make it to the 6:00 am yoga class is self care!
  • What I will do instead in the future: Knowing that self care is about listening to my own body right now right here instead of following other people’s advice. And sometimes it is about doing less rather than doing more.

10. Going to work when I am sick

  • The lie I was telling myself: It’s okay, I can do it. They really need me.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Doing myself and everyone else a favour and staying home.

11. Not following my dreams

  • The lie I was telling myself: I can’t quit my job because I won’t have enough money to sustain myself.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Knowing that having self-respect means going after what I really want in life. Following my heart and taking big leaps into the unknown while trusting that I will be guided.

12. Putting my partner’s needs above my own

  • The lie I was telling myself: It is more important to love him than it is to love myself.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Taking care of myself first so I can give my everything to my partner.

13. Ruminating in endless negative thoughts

  • The lie I was telling myself: I don’t deserve to be happy.
  • What I will do instead in the future: Being mindful of how I feel without over-identifying with my negative feelings. Treating myself with kindness and having the courage to let go thoughts that are not serving me.

Take-Away

Real self-care is about how we treat ourselves every minute of every day and not just in the 20 min time-slot scheduled for it. Treating ourselves right is a lot more about how we talk to ourselves, the things we say “YES” to and how well we are able to listen to what our body and mind truly need. Let’s stop scheduling self-care and start living it!

Liz Huber
Liz Huber Author

Liz Huber is a Mindset & Productivity Coach and Founder of refinedlife.io. With her books, courses, and 1-on-1 work, she helps entrepreneurs overcome overwhelm, lack of focus, fear, and self-doubt. As a result, her clients are able to confidently achieve their goals by prioritizing what is truly important and streamlining everything else.  

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